Symptoms of bad cat converter?

Have a question or want to start a discussion? Post it! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

Threaded View


2000 Mazda Protege ES with 151k miles on it

What are the symptoms of a bad catalytic converter?

The CEL keeps coming on but the error code is "vague"
and sounds to me like it could be the catcon or even O2
sensors!

Money is tight for me and I can't replace BOTH the O2
sensors and catcon at this time and want to replace
only what is bad.  

There are two O2 sensors total cost abt $200...and of
course the catcon is abt $225.... not including labor
for all this.

My CEL keeps coming on and my gas mileage is poor.

I always thought a catcon was good for life of the car.
Is 151k too soon for catcon to be bad?

If you were gonna choose between the catcon or the two
O2 sensors.... which one would you have replaced given
my symptoms above?

Re: Symptoms of bad cat converter?


I'd agree that a CEL without knowing the code is quite vague!
The lack of the code means that I'm making wild guesses, based upon very
little information.

Poor gas mileage is a good indication that something is wrong. However, the
current fuel blends deliver less mileage than they did without the added
alcohol
A bad front O2 sensor, or a clogged converter are just two of several
problems that may cause your symptoms.
It's unlikely that the rear O2 sensor is bad. While it might cause a CEL, it
should not have anything to do with poor gas mileage.
At 150K, you should have already replaced plugs, the fuel filter, and
possibly the plug wires. The rubber timing belt is also past due for
replacement. (If the 2000 Mazda Protege ES with 151k miles on it has a
timing belt instead of a chain.)
Converters may last 100,000 miles or more. You have 150,000, so it's also
suspect.  If it is partially clogged, this might be a cause of poor gas
mileage.

Replacement Bosch universal 4wire O2 sensors are available for less than
$100 ea. They come with a splice "kit", and reuse the original connectors.

I'd replace the fuel filter, plugs, and the front O2 sensor, and see what
happens next.

Quoted text here. Click to load it


Re: Symptoms of bad cat converter?



Quoted text here. Click to load it

OK will do


The CEL came on again so this time I'm going to buy a
cheap scanner and read it myself and will get back with
a code

Re: Symptoms of bad cat converter?


Quoted text here. Click to load it

You shouldn't need to do that.  Auto parts stores will loan you a scanner.
I used an Auto Zone scanner in their parking lot, read the code and reset
the CEL. For me, it was a spurious 2nd O2 sensor code that never returned.
--
Ken Lyons '97 Brilliant Black/'90 Classic Red
Inside the Beltway



Re: Symptoms of bad cat converter?


the only real symptom i know of for a failed catalytic converter is failing
to pass the emissions test ;)
but seriously, here's a nice summary of the issue
http://auto.howstuffworks.com/question482.htm
if your car is running smoothly, performance is strong, and the millage
hasn't changed, i would suspect a bad or loose gas cap is setting off the
cel, but it really could be a number of things, most of which are emissions
related.

Quoted text here. Click to load it



Re: Symptoms of bad cat converter?


Trouble is that failing the EMC test by itself does not directly indicate
just a bad converter.
Even the code for "Poor Converter Efficiency" may be caused by something
other than the converter.
It's possible to replace the converter and still fail, or pass and have the
ECU light come back on in few hundred miles.
The key is to find out and fix whatever caused the converter to fail, then
replace the bad converter.

Another part of the puzzle is that a brand new converter is more efficient
than a used one in "normal" condition.


"the only real symptom i know of for a failed catalytic converter is failing
to pass the emissions test "
Quoted text here. Click to load it



Site Timeline